eris·​tic | \ i-ˈri-stik How to pronounce eristic (audio) , e- \
variants: or less commonly eristical \ i-​ˈri-​sti-​kəl How to pronounce eristic (audio) \

Definition of eristic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: characterized by disputatious and often subtle and specious reasoning



Definition of eristic (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a person devoted to logical disputation
2 : the art or practice of disputation and polemics

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Other Words from eristic


eristically \ i-​ˈri-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce eristic (audio) \ adverb

Did You Know?


Eristic means "argumentative as well as logically invalid." Someone prone to eristic arguments probably causes a fair amount of strife amongst his or her conversational partners. It's no surprise, then, that the word traces its ancestry back to the Greek word for "strife." Eristic and the variant eristical come from the Greek word eristikos, meaning "fond of wrangling," from erizein, "to wrangle," and ultimately from eris, which means "strife." The adjective appeared in print in English in 1637. It was followed approximately 20 years later by the noun eristic, which refers to either a person who is skilled at debates based on formal logic or to the art or practice of argument.

First Known Use of eristic


1637, in the meaning defined above


1659, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for eristic


Greek eristikos fond of wrangling, from erizein to wrangle, from eris strife

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The first known use of eristic was in 1637

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Cite this Entry

“Eristic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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